Steve Forbes has a message for Republican lawmakers meeting this week in Philadelphia: Don’t approve a proposed sales tax on products coming into the U.S.
The former presidential candidate and publisher of Forbes magazine has a full-page letter in The Wall Street Journal that says: “The border adjustment tax is bad economic policy, but it is even worse politics.”
The ad appears as President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans gather to make a plan to advance his agenda. Trump has signed several executive actions to reverse some policies of President Barack Obama, but he needs lawmaker support to repeal Obamacare, cut taxes and approve infrastructure spending.
Forbes wants legislators to get rid of the border adjustment tax that is now part of the GOP Tax Reform Blueprint. Republicans control both houses of Congress, giving them a “one-in-a-generation opportunity” to change the tax code for the better, Forbes said.
“A border adjustment tax, however, will instead send a clear message that leaders in Washington want our hard-working Americans to pay more again,” he said. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a conservative lobbying group in Washington, paid for the ad that features the open letter to Republicans.
Trump’s campaign platform included a pledge to renegotiate trade agreements that give companies greater incentives to move factories overseas, where labor costs are cheaper, then ship products back to the U.S. Trump threatened to impose levies on companies such as Ford Motor Co. for moving jobs to Mexico.
Trump this month told The Wall Street Journal that a border adjustment tax is too “complicated,” but later said he would work with Republicans on a plan.
Grover Norquist, the conservative lobbyist who has persuaded members of Congress to sign a pledge against tax hikes, told CNBC that he doesn’t object to a levy on imports within a broader plan of reforms.
"If it was stand-alone, it would be no," but as part of a "several trillion-dollar tax reduction package, the whole package is pro-growth," Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said in an interview.
Forbes argues that the border adjustment tax will make products like gasoline and consumer goods more expensive for Americans, even as their income taxes are lowered.
“Rather than imposing a costly new national sales tax on imports, one that will dramatically raise prices of everyday goods and services, Congress would be wise to focus their attention on spending cuts,” Forbes said.
Forbes this month published an open letter to Trump urging him to avoid the border tax.
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